Tuesday, December 28, 2010

100 Yen Store

There is a store here in Japan called the 100 Yen store. Its like the dollar store in America, but the stuff you can find there is 10X better. For the spouse's coffee this month we were told to go pick out some fun/funny things from the 100 Yen store:

1-Favorite personal care item.
2-The best engRish.
3-Strangest flavor combo in a snack.
4-Strangest kitchen item.

1-


"Bamboo Earpick"

2-


"The rubber cap of the stick" "Do not damage the base of the stick and prevent the rubber cap from sliding off the base" "For personal safety, please chanfe the rubber cap periodically" "Please make sure whenther the rubber cap mathches the stick or not before use." "Please be carefully when using the product on slippery surfaces" "Please note that if the rubber cap is placed stably at the bottom of the stick" "Do not place the rubber cap on inappropriate sticks"

or


"Taping Tape" "Use on low back, knee, and elbow etc" "Read carefully the instructions on all pages of this document before use"

3-


"Mix seeds and nuts with Sardine"

4-


...Exactly. What is it and what does it do?

Christmas

This year Christmas was great!

Joel and I were able to stick to some of the regular traditions that we made for ourselves last year. Christmas Eve we went to the midnight service at church, although at about 9pm, I was wondering why we decided that was a good idea. This year I sang a solo and helped with some of the other music. It was fun to be back on stage worshiping. Its been about 2 years now...crazy.

Then I woke up early to get breakfast and some other Christmas goodies together. In my sleepy stupor, I saw a note saying, " Merry Christmas! Look in your fridge to find a tasty treat. Bake at 350 for 40 min. Santa" I looked in my fridge and sure enough, a breakfast casserole that I did not bake was sitting in there...at 5 yrs old, the Santa thing is cool, at 25 yrs. old...a bit creepy and unsettling. For about 5 min. I racked my brain and who and why there was someone in my house...figured out it was a friend with a key...

Later that day we had some people over including our small group and some orphan marines. We ate TONS of food and played some games.

All in all, it was a good day! Joel and I recuperated the day after by taking really really long naps. :)



This is most of everyone. There were a few more guys that came for the appetizers, but had to leave early.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tutoring

Some of you may not know this about me, but for the last 4 months I've been tutoring a bunch of 1st grade boys and helping in their classroom. Its been a blast. Most of the students are Japanese. Some of them, like the 5 boys I give extra help to, have only been speaking English for the last 8 months. The progress that they've made this year has been truly amazing! I thought I'd share some pictures with you of the 1st grade class.


















video

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thoughts on Consumerism

"Consume" in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is defined as, "to spend wastefully" or "to squander." I find this interesting because I feel like America has a "consumer" mentality. As December has begun and Christmas is right around the corner, there is an urge in Americans (or maybe even humans) to buy more and spend more. As a society we are almost forced into this mentality; we have to buy presents and decide what we want to be bought for us. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with gift exchange. I think though, that we get so wrapped up in the buying and wanting of mere things that we forget about the simplicity of the message of Christmas and of life in general.

Let me explain what I mean by people consuming life in general. Recently I've been listening to some sermons about family and marriage. The pastor was explaining about how in our marriages we often have a consumer view, we are in the relationship to GET/GAIN something from it. Happiness and fulfillment happen in marriage (and other relationships), but this is not the goal or the purpose of marriage. Rather the purpose is to be about giving of oneself and ultimately its about sanctification.

I think that we have this mentality in all of life. We, as "good" Christians might never say it out loud, but our actions speak to what we believe and hold in our hearts. We, as people, are selfish. I get so frustrated with myself sometimes because I am supposed to be about Kingdom things; earth is not my home; I am a citizen of heaven, and yet, it seems like earthly principles and world views sneak in and take over my Kingdom thoughts. There is a pull on me, and Christians as a whole, to live a life that goes along with our society's norms. But we are to live counter-culturally. Lord, give us grace to do it!

In the Sunday school I teach, we're talking about Jesus' return to earth. The point that I am trying to hit home to them this month is that we need to have an eternal perspective. Our hope is Jesus. He is who he said he is. He is returning one day to "right the wrong" in this world. He is coming in glory and splendor to renew and restore ALL things. Titus 2:11-14 says,

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds."


We look forward to this blessed hope, the appearing of Jesus. This is the reason we deny ungodliness and worldly desires such as consumerism.

Consumerism pervades most of our lives as American Christians. Let us be aware of our own actions and hearts, that we may live in a way that is indeed counter-cultural. And that we may be givers of all that we are to the glory of God, in this season and in every other, looking forward to the hope of His coming.